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Patriots News 2-25, “The Dynasty” Left Much Out, Matthew Slater

The Patriots documentary has been fascinating, but it's also glossed over some important moments.

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
February 25, 2024 at 6:00 am ET

Patriots News 2-25, “The Dynasty” Left Much Out, Matthew Slater(PHOTO: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 8 minutes

Good morning, and here is your Patriots news and notes for February 25.  

The docuseries “The Dynasty” is out on Apple TV and is a peek behind the curtain of the Patriots, and it begins in the 2001 season where it all began. There are some great clips from the games and some really good comments from former players, coaches, and front-office personnel.

The segment with Bill Parcells was intriguing in the sense that it was good to hear both sides of the story as to why he left NE for the Jets. Parcells and Kraft traded some barbs on the show, which wasn’t unexpected. As for Parcells not being in the team’s HOF, while I totally understand his desire to leave, spending Super Bowl week communicating with the Jets rather than preparing for Green Bay was unfathomable and unforgivable.  

However, what he said about the draft piqued my interest in this upcoming draft. 

“Kraft had no real background in football, and in his inexperience, took the draft away from me… I felt like some people who were incompetent were making decisions for the organization personnel-wise, and I didn’t like it.”

There were rumors of the Krafts “taking back their team” after two-plus decades of Bill Belichick running the show with impunity. And some people question if that is going to happen again. I spoke with one of our other writers/podcast hosts, Russ Goldman, about this for some time. He’s convinced that the Krafts fully intend to make the pick at #3. And not Eliot Wolf/Jerod Mayo. I don’t subscribe to that, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility. We shall see soon enough. 

Another intriguing thing about the Dynasty show was the look back at the improbable Super Bowl XXXVI win. The different views of the plays from the field level were fantastic. But the entire premise of the show is “The Dynasty.” And I thought they glossed over the back-to-back Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX teams far too quickly. No mention of the 21-game winning streak. No one had won back-to-back SBs until this year. 

Those two Patriots teams each went 17-2, and there was plenty to talk about with each. And to spend less than a minute on those teams did the players and coaches a disservice.

The 2007 team, Spygate, and the Super Bowl loss to the Giants was a great if painful end to the episode. The comments from Randy Moss (“I’m a bad MFer too”), Donte’ Stallworth, and Michael Strahan were fantastic. 

Guy was released last week. (PHOTO: David Butler II – USA TODAY Sports)

Quick Hitters For the Patriots and NFL News: 

Salary Cap Increase: The NFL has increased the league’s salary cap to $255.4 million in 2024, showing the media deal is working out quite well. Was it the “Taylor Swift” effect at work?

However, that is an increase of $30 million over 2023. According to our friend Miguel Benzan, aka @Patscap, the only source I go to in regard to the Patriots salary cap, the Patriots now have a whopping $86.9 million in salary cap space for 2024. If they decide to cut J.C. Jackson, then it will free up another $13.46 million in cash. That would put the team at $100.3 million to spend. 

With this in mind… see more below on this subject.

Youth Movement Afoot: The Patriots have announced that they are releasing veterans Lawrence Guy and Adrian Phillips, signifying that they will get younger on the roster. Both came to the Patriots via FA, Guy from the Ravens, and Phillips from the Chargers. 

And both were very good signings. Guy was a stalwart on the interior DL, excelling at being a run stuffer who could occasionally chip in with the odd sack. He was also a great asset to the community. Phillips is a safety/special teams maven who was an excellent fit for the Patriots. 

It wasn’t a shock to see this happen, especially with Phillips, who saw his playing time vastly decrease down the stretch. 

Evan Lazar: Early last week, EZ posted an excellent look at the QBs in the upcoming draft on He broke the rankings down in Tiers and gave some superb analysis on each of the top QBs in the class. 

He also broke down the WRs in the class, which was an excellent read. If you are curious about the Patriots’ options in the draft and haven’t dived into who the prospects are, check Evan’s posts out. He always gives excellent analysis.  

Ian Logue: Our leader here from has been hiding some of his talents from us for a long time. Later during this offseason, I will begin my 13th season with the site, and I never knew Ian was such an accomplished singer. 

Seeing him belt out some oldies from the 80s was a treat! Who knew??? However, next time, I’m putting in a request for him to sing some Elvis. 

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins are cutting some very well-known names from their roster, releasing CB Xavien Howard and Edge Emmanuel Ogbah. 

Howard is expected to draw significant interest in FA. His contract had his salary jump to over $15 million in 2024 with a cap hit of $26 million.  Ogbah got off to a great start in his NFL career with Miami and was rewarded with a big contract. But after suffering a significant injury in 2023, the Dolphins are cutting his salary too. By designating the two as post-June 1st cuts, the team will save $18 and $13 million dollars, respectively. 

Patriots 4th & 2 Podcast: This week, we discussed the latest news from Foxboro in our podcast.

Derek Havens and I discussed the latest news around the team with the coordinators and early thoughts on the draft, free agency, and The Dynasty show.   

Russ Francis/Chuck Fairbanks: The former Patriot tight end and head coach should be in the Patriots team Hall of Fame, and the fact that Francis isn’t in is an absolute travesty. Francis and the Raiders’ Dave Casper changed the game with how teams used the tight end position. This will be discussed in our Sunday posts until it happens. Casper is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Francis’ numbers stand up well against Casper’s, yet he isn’t even in the team’s HOF. 

I wouldn’t trade for Justin Fields. (PHOTO: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

Area 51 News: Thoughts On Free AgencyAnd The Draft  —

The Patriots and the subject of the #3 pick in the draft are on everyone’s mind, and it has been so long since the team has picked that high that it is understandable. But the thing we all must not forget, and I’ve been repeating non-stop, is that free agency comes first, and with probably $100 million bucks to spend, they can fill a lot of holes with that much cash. 

Rumors of trading for Justin Fields (I wouldn’t) or paying a top FA big money, a la Baker Mayfield or Kirk Cousins, would undoubtedly affect their plans with the #3 pick. Would the Patriots still pick a QB at #3 if they landed one of these three QBs? Quite doubtful. 

And if this scenario (FA QB) plays out, the question now becomes, how will they use that pick? Use it to take the best player available, with WR Marvin Harrison Jr., or by drafting a tackle with Joe Alt? Or do they trade back a few spots and gather more draft capital? All these scenarios and more are on the table. 

With $100 million in cash, they can afford to resign some of their own FAs but also make a splash. If they resign Mike Onwenu and sign another LT, the need to draft a tackle will still be there, but not nearly as pressing as before.  Ditto for WRs and TEs. They have the cash to resign Kendrick Bourne and sign two impact FAs. Also, Hunter Henry (or Dalton Schultz) and Pharaoh Brown.

Resigning Kyle Dugger and redoing Matthew Judon’s contract should also be a priority. 

What makes the Free Agency/Draft season so incredible is that there are endless possibilities available right now, especially factoring in 31 other teams’ wants and needs. The Patriots have the cash and draft capital to make a big splash in the NFL landscape this spring. And if they have a great spring, it could shorten the rebuild time considerably. 

This isn’t a one-year rebuild for the team, but they could quickly return to respectability overnight. But to do so will require a great FA and draft. But remember, free agency comes first, and they must first spend that $100 million wisely. Then, start looking at how to attack the draft.

Matthew Slater

(PHOTO: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)

Matthew Slater Was Everything That Is Right With the NFL  

How can we put a value on Matthew Slater’s career and impact with the Patriots? For the past 16 years, he has been a marvel of consistent, outstanding STs play. 

He has notched five first-team All-Pro selections (2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2019), three second-team All-Pro selections (2017, 2020, 2021), and 10 Pro Bowl nods. Oh, and he’s been a team captain for 13 years and a three-time Super Bowl winner. 

But as great as Slater was on the field, he was an even better man and ambassador for the Patriots and the NFL off the field. 

“For the last 25 years of my life, 16 of them as a New England Patriot, I have been incredibly blessed to be able to emulate the man I saw on those fields in Meridian by playing the game that I love so much,” Slater posted on 

 “I have given all that I possibly can to respect and honor the game. Though it is time for my relationship with the game to evolve, the love I have for it will last a lifetime.

“As a player, God used the game of football to instruct, discipline, encourage, and develop me as a person.

“In 2008, I came here as a young man with hopes and dreams. In 2024, I can retire knowing this experience has exceeded any hope or dream I ever had.”

Slater was a 5th Round Draft pick for the Patriots in 2008 and has paid dividends for the team ever since. For the fans who have gone to training camps through the years, watching Slater practice on his by running sprints down the field with coaching assistants trying to slow him down was an eye-opener to his dedication and talent. 

Bill Belichick said, “Matthew Slater deserves every accolade someone could receive. He is a once-in-a-lifetime person. 

“His daily, weekly, and yearly work ethic paved the way for his unsurpassed performance.

“Matthew is the finest example of what an intense competitor and human being should be. He has been a great role model for the team’s players & coaches) that I have coached.”

“Matthew is exceedingly kind and supremely loved and respected by all his peers. I am one of many who feel incredibly blessed to be his teammate, coach, and friend,” Belichick added. 

Robert Kraft said this about Slater: “On the field, his 10 Pro Bowl appearances will likely earn him a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day alongside his father.

“Off the field, he will be remembered for so much more. He is a role model, not just for young players but for everyone. He is a man of integrity and high moral character who is led by his faith and committed to his family. There is no finer person than Matthew Slater,” he added. 

Prior to the final game of the 2023 season against the Jets, it was cool to see Jets punter Thomas Morstead and Aaron Rodgers show Slater the respect that they did, with Rodgers telling him, “You’re a Hall of Famer.”

When people talk about the “Patriot Way,” Slater immediately comes to mind. He embodied everything that encompassed it during his 16-year career. Belichick added that Slater was the “best core special teams player in NFL history.”

And we, here, are in firm agreement with that statement. 

Weekly Picks… See You in September: 

2023 Season    178—94

2022 Season:   178—92—2

2021 Season:   183—88—1

2020 Season:   169—86—1 

2019 Season:   162—93—1


“If you can’t take hard coaching, you’re soft… these COVID kids coming out of college… coaches can’t talk to them… then you come into a situation where you’re playing for the Patriots, and it’s Bill Belichick.”

Patriots free agent S/CB Jalen Mills on how tough it is playing for Bill Belichick for the younger players in the league. Mills added that he was stunned to see Belichick not get a head coaching job this season.


“Talent sets the floor; Character sets the ceiling.” Bill Belichick

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on Apple and YouTube as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens, and myself from discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.


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Monday Afternoon Patriots Notebook 2/26: News and Notes

About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at, as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2024 NFL Draft 2024 NFL Free Agency Bill Belichick Donte Stallworth Kyle Dugger Matthew Judon Matthew Slater Miami Dolphins Michael Onwenu New England Patriots New York Jets Randy Moss

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